ARMYWAR COLLEGE '
Carlisle Barracks, PA STRENGTlI-'WISD
ISLAMISM AND SECURITY
Leslie S. Lebl
U.S. ARMYWAR COLLEGE
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ISLAMISM AND SECURITY
Leslie S. Lebl
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Many observers viewed the military mission of the
North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) mission
to Bosnia-Herzegovina (Bosnia), launched in late-
1995, as a test of the international community's ability
to keep the peace in the post-Cold War world. This
task proved difficult: The many obstacles to restoring
stability and growth in Bosnia have been thoroughly
dissected over the years, from the challenges of tran-
sition governments to the difficulties of interethnic
One factor, however, has received but scant atten-
tion: the role of Islamism, the political ideology based
on a religion that motivates the Muslim Brother-
hood, al-Qaeda, and many other radical groups. This
monograph will examine the impact of Islamism on
Bosnian security, tracing developments during the 9
years of NATO peacekeeping, as well as the ensuing
years. It will also examine the ties between so-called
"nonviolent" and "violent" Islamism— ties that have
already surfaced in other countries where NATO or
the U.S. military is engaged. As a consequence, the
monograph offers a framework to analyze the poten-
tial constraints that Islamism can place on present-day
and future military missions in Muslim countries.
DOUGLAS C. LOVELACE, JR.
Strategic Studies Institute and
U.S. Army War College Press
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
LESLIE S. LEBL is a Fellow of the American Center
for Democracy and a Principal of Lebl Associates. A
former Foreign Service Officer, she now writes, lec-
tures, and consults on political and security matters.
During her Foreign Service career, Ms. Lebl served
as Political Advisor to the Commander of Stabiliza-
tion Forces (SFOR) in Bosnia-Herzegovina in the late-
1990s, first in the American sector in Tuzla and then
at SFOR headquarters in Sarajevo. Her most recent
publications include articles in Orbis on the European
Union, the Muslim Brotherhood, and the Organiza-
tion of Islamic Cooperation, and on radical Islam in
Europe. A monograph, Advancing U.S. Interests with
the European Union, was published by the Atlantic
Council of the United States. Other publications in-
clude analyses of European defense policy for the Cato
Institute and of U.S.-EU cooperation in combating ter-
rorism for Policy Review. Ms. Lebl holds a B.A. in his-
tory from Swarthmore College and an M.A. in foreign
affairs from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced
Bosnia-Herzegovina, once thought to be on the
way to joining the North Atlantic Treaty Organiza-
tion (NATO) and the European Union (EU), is instead
falling behind, mired in political bickering, economic
stalemate, and governmental dysfunction. In this dif-
ficult situation, Islamism poses a significant threat to
Bosnia's fragile domestic stability. Although the lev-
els of Islamist terrorism and separatist movements
are comparable to those elsewhere in Europe, they are
particularly troublesome in Bosnia for two reasons.
First, senior political and religious Bosniak (Muslim)
leaders have long-standing ties to the Muslim Brother-
hood and Islamist terrorism, including al-Qaeda and
Iran, that they are very reluctant to abandon. Second,
Islamism contributes significantly to Bosnia's dys-
function as a country. Calls to re-impose traditional
Islamic law, or sharia, arouse opposition from Bosnian
Serbs and Croats, as does the nostalgia for the Otto-
man Empire and Islamic Caliphate shared by key Bos-
niak leaders, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation
(OIC), and the Turkish government.
Some analysts think that Bosnia's slide can be re-
versed by mounting another NATO military mission,
while others want the United States to accelerate its
NATO membership. The U.S. Army should be pre-
pared to explain why the previous NATO mission was
successful, and why, in contrast, another one would
be much more difficult. The European Command and
the Office of the Secretary of Defense should alert
Washington policymakers to the danger to NATO
policymaking and day-to-day operations arising
from the Islamist ties of some Bosniak leaders and
ISLAMISM AND SECURITY
BOSNIA IN TROUBLE
Eighteen years after the fighting ended in Bosnia-
Herzegovina (Bosnia), its territorial integrity and in-
ternal stability are not yet assured. Most observers
had assumed that membership in the North Atlan-
tic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the European
Union (EU) would cement Bosnian security. Although
other Balkan countries have successfully joined those
two organizations, 1 Bosnia is unlikely to follow them
any time soon. Instead, reforms that appeared to pave
the way for membership have stalled. The unity of
the state is in doubt; its governmental structure is
unworkable, and its economy is failing.
The Bosnian governmental structure set up under
the Dayton Peace Accords included a weak central
state, two entities (the Bosniak-Croat Federation and
the Serb Republic), and a separate jurisdiction for the
disputed town of Brcko. With the Federation further
divided into 10 relatively autonomous cantons —
roughly reflecting the territorial divisions between
Bosniaks and Croats — not only is the result top-heavy
and unwieldy, but the structure encourages disputes
and tensions framed in terms of ethnicity. Most ob-
servers, with the exception of the U.S. Government,
have concluded that the cumbersome mechanism of
two entities and a weak central state agreed to at Day-
ton in 1995 simply does not work. 2
If Bosnia's economy were thriving, these tensions
would probably recede. But basic requirements for
such a thriving economy, such as large-scale energy
projects, are frequently blocked by the lack of inter-
entity cooperation. 3 In addition, the economic lib-
eralization required for growth would deprive the
multiple layers of officialdom of substantial income,
whether from controlling state-owned companies in-
herited from the communist past or revenues from
the welter of existing regulations and administrative
Strong leadership might overcome this inertia, but
strong leadership is exactly what is lacking. Mean-
while, corruption remains widespread, 4 and the aver-
age Bosnian faces high unemployment, reaching 57
percent among young people. 5 Poverty is mitigated by
extensive state subsidies that further weigh down the
economy and by black market jobs.
Former Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic and
former Croatian president Franjo Tudjman famously
divided up Bosnia on a napkin in 1991. 6 They failed to
achieve their goal during the subsequent war, but the
division of Bosnia from within has advanced apace.
The poor economy has contributed to this process,
but so has the deliberate policy of alienation pursued
by all three ethnic groups. An entire generation of
Bosnians has gone through an ethnically segregated
educational system in which each group is taught its
own version of religion, geography, history, and lan-
guage. 7 Those divisions are then perpetuated by poli-
ticians who exploit ethnic fears and tensions.
Unsurprisingly, the inter-ethnic reconciliation
hoped for at Dayton has not come to pass. Rather,
an overwhelming majority of Bosnian Serbs support
the secession of the Serb Republic. A large number
of Croats have already left the country; they are esti-
mated now to account for only 10 percent of Bosnia's
population, as compared with 17 percent in 1991. 8 Of
those Croats still in country, over 40 percent want to
carve a third, Croat, entity out of the Federation, 9 de-
spite the fact that the Dayton quota system currently
grants them outsize influence (one-third of the state-
level positions and half of those in the Federation
As Bosnian analysts Anes Alic and Vildana Skoca-
jic put it, the majority of Bosnians "do not feel that this
is their 'homeland'." 10 This puts an alarming spin on
other, already-disturbing data: some 87 percent feel
the country is going in the wrong direction, 11 and 77
percent of young people say they would leave Bosnia
if they could. 12 Such negative perceptions are also typ-
ical of a country in demographic decline, as Bosnia is
today. 13 It may be only mid-ranked on the list of failed
states, but it is clearly in trouble. 14
Neither NATO nor the EU can solve these prob-
lems, despite their best efforts. NATO provided first
the Implementation Force (IFOR) and then its succes-
sor, Stabilization Force (SFOR), to maintain stability
for 9 years after the war. Today, it maintains a military
headquarters in Sarajevo to assist Bosnia with reforms
and commitments related to NATO accession.
Bosnia has met all NATO membership require-
ments except for the registration of all the defense fa-
cilities deemed necessary for future defense as proper-
ties of the central state. 15 The Serb Republic has refused
to transfer its properties, and its President, Milorad
Dodik, has called for Bosnia to demilitarize rather than
join NATO. 16 Clearly, the obstacles to NATO acces-
sion are political and can be removed only by the Bos-
nians themselves. Even if they are overcome, NATO
has no means to solve Bosnia's serious social and
EU accession, which requires extensive economic,
social, and political reforms, is often viewed by U.S.
policymakers as the critical means to achieve Euro-
Atlantic integration. One could argue that the EU is
an unlikely tool for streamlining governments and re-
ducing the public sector, promoting entrepreneurship
rather than redistribution, and resolving cultural ten-
sions among different groups. Nevertheless, the EU
has prodded Bosnia, inter alia, to strengthen its cen-
tral state institutions, reform its public administration
and judicial system, combat corruption, and develop
a market economy, but with only limited success. To-
day, EU officials appear to have concluded that there
is not much they can do to solve Bosnia's problems,
given Bosnian politicians' lack of vision and interne-
cine disputes . 17 The EU official in charge of accession
has warned that, if the present situation persists, Bos-
nia's application could be "frozen ." 18
If Bosnia was a just another EU candidate country,
such an assessment would probably attract little atten-
tion. But in this case, it is significant, given the huge EU
effort to rebuild Bosnia. The EU replaced SFOR with
its own military operation, European Union Force
(EUFOR); it replaced the United Nations (UN) police
mission with the European Union Police Mission, and
for a time it combined the position of EU Special Rep-
resentative in Bosnia and Herzegovina with that of the
UN's Office of the High Representative (OHR). in an
effort to coordinate and direct the civilian internation-
al community's involvement in Bosnia. The failure of
such an ambitious effort explains why Europeans now
say that it is primarily up to the Bosnians, not outsid-
ers, to fix Bosnia's problems . 19
ISLAMISM: MUSLIM BROTHERS, TERRORISTS,
In this precarious environment, the growth of Is-
lamism is particularly worrisome. Islamism contrasts
strongly with the more-moderate form of Islam tradi-
tionally practiced in Bosnia. A 20th century political
ideology based on a religion, Islamism' s ultimate goal
is to replace Western law with traditional Islamic law,
or sharia, worldwide. Not only would this undermine
Western democracy by rejecting the laws designed
by democratically elected representatives, but sharia's
fundamental principles — such as inequality before the
law (more on this topic later in the text) — are antitheti-
cal to Western law. This transformation to Islamism
would be accomplished by means of a global Caliph-
ate, or Islamic empire, headed by a person who is both a
political and religious leader.
Most Western observers dismiss warnings about
the dangers of Islamism as crude Serb or Croat pro-
paganda intended to undermine the Bosnian state. In
so doing, they usually note that Islamism is unlikely
to become a significant force because most Bosniaks
continue to adhere to their traditionally moderate and
relatively secular version of Islam. However, evidence
drawn primarily from Bosniak and Western sources
reveals a more-nuanced and alarming picture. To un-
derstand this picture, it is first necessary to identify
the main types of Islamism influencing Bosnia today.
Islamists are usually divided into two categories:
the violent Islamist who pursues holy war, or jihad,
openly, and his nonviolent counterpart who publicly
eschews it— except against Israel or Western forces
fighting in Muslim countries. However, the links be-
tween violent and nonviolent Islamism, while often
denied, are increasingly obvious. This is particularly
true in countries like Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, and Syr-
ia, where the Muslim Brotherhood — the best-known
group in the nonviolent category — now contends
openly for power. The evidence from Bosnia present-
ed later in this text also shows a blurred line between
violence and nonviolence.
Instead, it is more useful to distinguish among
three main groups of Islamists in Bosnia: those linked
to the Muslim Brotherhood, a group whose mem-
bers participate in democratic institutions and often
publicly espouse Western values; those engaged in
terrorist activity, or jihad; and so-called Wahhabis, ad-
herents of Saudi fundamentalism who reject Western
institutions. Some Wahhabis are linked to terrorist
activity, while others are not. There are tensions and
disputes among the three groups, but they all agree on
the goal of replacing Western law with sharia. And all
three groups have connections to the Bosniak political
and religious elite.
The Muslim Brotherhood.
Islamism first appeared in Bosnia in 1941 when
Alija Izetbegovic and others formed the Young
Muslims, a group patterned after the Muslim Broth-
erhood. Izetbegovic' s famous political tract from the
early-1970s, the Islamic Declaration, contained many
Islamist concepts, confirming his personal attraction
to the ideology.
This ancient history suddenly sprang to life when
Izetbegovic founded a political party with former
Young Muslims as its inner core, outmaneuvered his
more-moderate rivals, and became president of Bos-
nia in 1990. He filled that position during and after the
Bosnian war, from 1990-96, and then became a mem-
ber of the joint presidency (which rotates between a
Serb, a Croat, and a Bosniak) from 1996-2000. He died
in 2003, but his legacy lives on, as his long-time as-
sociate, Haris Silajdzic, and son, Bakir, follow in his
footsteps, both as presidents of Bosnia and as Islamist
Brotherhood ties today are very important to an-
other senior Bosniak, Mustafa Ceric. Ceric served for
years as Grand Mufti of Sarajevo and the head of the
official Islamic Community. In addition, he is con-
sidered to be a leading Bosniak political figure in his
Thus, while little is said or written about Muslim
Brotherhood activities in Bosnia, the most senior Bos-
niak leaders — viewed by Westerners as representing
moderate, relatively secular Muslims — are, in fact,
closely connected to, or deeply sympathetic with, that
organization. Their views and their relationships steer
Bosnia toward Islamism and the Muslim world, while
alienating Bosniaks from Bosnian Serbs and Croats,
their fellow citizens.
Islamism received a tremendous boost with the ar-
rival of Islamic fighters, or mujahideen, to fight on the
Bosniak side during the 1992-95 war. Their military
value has been disputed, but the accompanying finan-
cial and military support from Saudi Arabia and Iran
was vital to the Bosniak war effort. While those two
countries are rivals, they arrived at an accommoda-
tion in Bosnia to support the mujahideen. Saudi Arabia
focused on financing and logistical supplies, and Iran
on importing the fighters and on military aid. 20
The war in Bosnia definitely gave al-Qaeda a huge
boost, both in terms of organization and recruitment, 21
and helped radicalize European Muslims. Many of
them were revolted by graphic videos of suffering
Bosniaks, and some traveled to Bosnia to provide aid
or fight and so came into contact with foreign jihadists.
Many jihadists later directed their fighting skills against
European and American targets. Since the war ended
in 1995, Bosnian veterans from various countries have
figured in terrorist activities in countries around the
globe, among them France, Indonesia, Iraq, Malaysia,
Morocco, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Thailand, the
United Kingdom, the United States, and Yemen. 22
The best-known initiatives to combat Islamist ter-
rorism were the 1996 IFOR raid on an Iranian-run ter-
rorist training camp in Pogorelica and numerous steps
taken after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001
(9/11), on the United States. At that time, SFOR inter-
rupted terrorist plots aimed at NATO and other West-
ern targets and raided the Saudi High Commission
and other Saudi charities that were funding terrorist
By 2004, terrorism expert Evan Kohlmann, in
a book warning about the Afghan-Bosnian terror-
ist connection, concluded that al-Qaeda had largely
failed to take root in Bosnia. He noted the progress
made in shutting down various terrorist operations
and expressed the opinion that al-Qaeda had failed
because moderate Bosniaks rejected its extremist ide-
ology. 23 However, Kohlmann may have spoken too
soon. Box 1 shows a continuum from 1996 through
2006 in which Bosnia served as an active link in the
The "Bosnian Connection" in International
• Starting in 1996, senior mujahideen leaders
such as Abu el-Ma'ali and Abu Sulaimann
al-Makki, then living as "civilians" in Bo-
cinja Donja, oversaw plots in France, Italy,
and Jordan designed to avenge the deaths
of other leaders.
• In 2008, the Office of the High Representa-
tive (OHR) in Sarajevo reportedly uncov-
ered evidence that senior Bosniak politician
Hasan Cengic signed off on a money trans-
fer intended to finance the attacks of 9/11.
• Karim Said Atmani, the document forger
for the group plotting the 2000 Millenium
plot bombing, was a frequent visitor to Bos-
nia. He obtained his first Bosnian passport
in 1995 and subsequently was allowed to
stay without a valid passport after he was
deported by Canada in 1998.
• In late-October 2001, Algerians with Bos-
nian citizenship were arrested by the Bos-
nian authorities on charges of plotting to fly
small aircraft from Visoko and crash them
into SFOR bases in Tuzla and Bratunac.
• The 2005 plot to bomb the funeral of Pope
John Paul II in Croatia reportedly origi-
nated in Gornja Maoca. The plot involved
smuggling rocket launchers, explosives,
and detonators into Italy.
• Also in 2005, Bosnian police raided an apart-
ment connected to a group seeking to blow
up the British Embassy in Sarajevo, seizing
explosives, rifles, other arms, and a video
pledging vengeance for jihadists killed in
Afghanistan and Iraq. One of those arrest-
ed, a Swedish citizen of Bosnian origin, ran
a website on behalf of Abu Musab Zarqawi,
head of al-Qaeda in Iraq.
• In 2006, a group of Bosnians and Macedo-
nians linked to al-Qaeda were arrested in
northern Italy after smuggling some 1,800
guns into that country from Istanbul.
Sources: Evan F. Kohlmann, Al-Qaida's Jihad in Europe: The
Afghan-Bosnian Network, New York, Berg, 2004, pp. 176, 199,
201-209; Bosnia-Herzegovina Federation public TV, May 5, 2008;
The Washington Post, March 11, 2000; Channel 4 News, Janu-
ary 17, 2002; ISN, November 17, 2008; The Washington Post,
December 1, 2005; and Christopher Deliso, The Coming Bal-
kan Caliphate: The Threat of Radical Islam to Europe and the West,
Westport, CT: Praeger, 2007, p. 26.
Nor were the Iranians routed after the 1996 raid in
Pogorelica. Today, both the Iranian Ministry of Intelli-
gence and National Security (VEVAK) and the Islamic
Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) have a presence
in Bosnia. Of the two, the IRGC reportedly has the
better, more-extensive network. 24 After the July 2012
terrorist attack at the Burgas airport in Bulgaria, in-
ternational attention focused on possible threats from
Hezbollah elsewhere in the Balkans. An Israeli expert,
cited by Christopher Deliso, concluded that Bosnia
posed the biggest danger in the region because "There
remain pro-Iranian elements in the government, and
Iran is active through the embassy in Sarajevo and
Today, Islamist terrorism persists in Bosnia, wheth-
er involving al-Qaeda, Iran, or home-grown sources,
but assessments of the threat it poses vary. Many
Western analysts largely have dismissed this terror-
ism as not being a major issue. The 2013 Congressio-
nal Research Service report on Bosnia, for example,
makes only a brief mention of terrorism, 26 and recent
State Department and EU terrorism reports suggest
that the level of terrorism in Bosnia is no greater than
elsewhere in Europe. 27
On the other hand, a leading Bosnian law enforce-
ment official said that the only reason there have not
been more terrorist attacks was that "We've had more
luck than brains." 28 The actual number of individuals
involved is not trivial; Almir Dzuvo, the director of
the Intelligence and Security Agency of BiH (OSA),
estimated in July 2010 that there were 3,000 potential
terrorists in Bosnia, out of a population of just under
four million people. 29
Two conclusions can be drawn from these assess-
ments. First, the level of terrorist activity in Bosnia
does appear comparable to levels elsewhere in Eu-
rope — although, if the Bosnian official cited above is
right, any optimism should be guarded at best. Sec-
ond, just because the terrorist threat is not unusual
does not mean it is not necessarily unimportant. Com-
parisons with Western Europe can be misleading, as
terrorism is much more dangerous to a fragile state
than to a robust democracy.
One mujahideen leader predicted in 1996 that
"[fjoreign fighters will not be a problem for Bosnia.
They will move on. But we planted a seed here and
you will have more and more Bosnian Muslims prac-
ticing traditional Islam." 30 The most obvious sign of
this trend are the so-called Wahhabis, adherents of the
fundamentalist Islam practiced in Saudi Arabia.
Estimates of the numbers of Wahhabis or members
of similar sects vary widely. Observers were surprised
by the crowd of more than 3,000 people, half of them
Bosnians, who attended the funeral of a Wahhabist
leader in 2007, 31 as well as by a 2013 conference in Tu-
zla that drew 500 participants, mostly young men. 32
Given that an estimated 4,000 people gather each Fri-
day to hear radical sermons preached at the Saudi-
backed King Fahd Mosque in Sarajevo, 33 the number
of Wahhabis could be quite high. But the most likely
figure is that given by Federation police (not the police
of the Serb Republic), who estimated in 2009 that there
were up to 5,000 practicing Bosnian Wahhabis. 34
Unsurprisingly, the Wahhabis recruit followers
from the least privileged classes:
Bosnian Wahhabis largely target youth with few eco-
nomic opportunities and [the] downtrodden, both
from rural areas. They keenly take advantage of pov-
erty, lack of education and poor social services, offer-
ing young people and refugees a variety of opportu-
nities, including jobs, income and fellowship. There
have been cases in which new members are paid sev-
eral hundred euros per month for their loyalty. There
is also evidence that members are paid for convinc-
ing their wives to wear the hijab in public, among
other things . 35
The Saudi role in this process is extensive. The
Saudis financed an extensive mosque-building pro-
gram after the war, of which the $30-million King
Fahd Mosque 36 is only the most visible and influential,
and built a parallel religious educational structure to
that offered by the official Islamic Community. 37 The
Saudis are also believed to fund various Wahhabi
groups, to educate young Bosnians in Saudi Arabia,
and to send operatives to Bosnia who typically marry
Bosnian women and blend into local society. 38
As the Wahhabi movement has gained momen-
tum, militants have engaged in violent clashes with
traditional Bosniaks and sought to impose their stan-
dards of behavior on the public. Young and charismat-
ic Wahhabi preachers travel through Western Europe
and the Balkans, lecturing and giving sermons; they
maintain popular websites full of jihadist propaganda
and incitement to terror. One prominent preacher is
known for a pro -jihadist, anti-American song that he
performs at weddings and other social events:
American and other adversaries should know
That now the Muslims
Are one like the Taliban
Believers of the world
With dynamite on their chest
Lead the path to dzennet (heaven). 39
Some Bosniaks have always been anti-American,
but the vast majority were openly grateful to the Unit-
ed States for intervening to stop the war and then to
keep the peace. No recent polls appear to have mea-
sured how these views may have changed. It is, how-
ever, unrealistic to expect young people born during
or after the war to share that sense of gratitude, or in-
deed, to expect older people to continue to feel grati-
tude as the political system imposed at Dayton fails to
While Wahhabi violence and proselytization are
quite visible, these Islamists are even better known
for their separatist enclaves, which function as "no-
go-zones." The inhabitants of these enclaves reject
the authority of the Bosnian government and instead
impose a strict interpretation of sharia. The first such
enclave was in the village of Bocinja Donja, formerly a
Bosnian Serb village, where the Bosniak government
settled former mujahideen after the war.
The mujahideen married Bosnian women and so
acquired Bosnian citizenship. The village provided
them a safe haven in which to maintain their terror-
ist contacts under the guise of simple farmers. In the
1990s, the hostility of the inhabitants of Bocinja Donja
to outsiders, including SFOR, was palpable, under-
mining their claims of innocence. Eventually the en-
clave was closed down, and the village returned to
its original owners. Now the best-known enclave is in
Gornja Maoca, a remote village where native Bosnians
reside along with foreign-born former mujahideen.
While the Bosnian Serbs continue to insist that
these enclaves pose a significant security risk, Bos-
niak policy has been bifurcated. One the one hand,
there has been pressure to isolate and marginalize
the Wahhabis, in the hope of making any problems
go away. Analyst Stephen Schwartz speculates that
Bosniak political leaders have "pursued a strategy
of trying to confine the Wahhabi agitators to remote
locations, rather than settling the problem by conse-
quential legal proceedings." 40 Not all Bosniak officials
are willing to settle for this approach, however. The
authorities have made numerous arrests, including
a massive 2010 raid on Gornja Maoca and the arrests
of two of the enclave's leaders following the 2011 at-
tack on the U.S. embassy in Sarajevo. Up to now,
though, they have failed to obtain an indictment, let
alone a conviction. As a result, a cloud of mystery
is likely to cloak Gornja Maoca and other similar
enclaves for some time to come, making it difficult
to determine the degree of danger they pose to Bos-
nia's internal security or their potential links to inter-
Some observers caution that many Wahhabis are
peaceful and should not be classified as terrorists, for
fear of driving them into the arms of groups espous-
ing violence. 41 The Islamic Community, the official
Muslim religious organization in Bosnia, has refused
to condemn the Wahhabis and attacks those who
criticize them. But the Bosniak public remains unper-
suaded; when last asked, 71 percent rejected Wah-
habism, suggesting that this form of Islam remains for
them both distinct from traditional Bosnian Islam and
The Wahhabis do not yet appear to have gained
control of any significant governmental or official re-
ligious offices. Nor, although actual numbers are hard
to estimate, have they created no-go zones in urban
areas, as has happened in Western Europe. This lack
of progress is most likely due to visceral opposition
from local Bosniaks. Attempts to take over mosques
have ended in violence; in one instance, a resident
commented: "They should shave their beards and use
deodorant instead of coming here like dogs. For me,
they are wolf-dogs, they will attack our children. I
have female children and do not dare to send them to
[the religious school] at all." 43 These locals' contempt
of the Wahhabis is unmistakable.
Yet, current descriptions of the Federation sug-
gest it is much more radicalized than was the case in
the late-1990s. Given that the trend is pointing in the
wrong direction, it would be foolish to regard Wah-
habism as purely marginal, especially when an expert
like Sarajevo professor Resid Hafizovic describes it as
a "potentially deadly virus" for Bosnian Muslims. 44
When times are hard and the future is bleak, such
movements can gain momentum quickly.
ISLAMIST TIES OF SENIOR BOSNIAK LEADERS
Islamists are active not only in Bosnia, but through-
out Western Europe and the United States. One fac-
tor that makes them a greater danger in Bosnia than
elsewhere, though, is their close connection to Bosniak
leaders, in particularly three men (Bakir Izetbegovic,
Haris Silajdzic, and Alija Izetbegovic). These men
have occupied the Bosniak chair of the central state's
rotating presidency since its establishment. The dan-
ger of the Islamists in Bosnia has also been increased
by their closeness to Mustafa Ceric, the mufti who
until recently headed Bosnia's official Islamic Com-
Those men, along with their associates and subor-
dinates, have pursued policies inimical to the views
and goals of moderate Muslims, and those of Bosnian
Serbs and Croats. They have supported Islamist ter-
rorism and Wahhabism, encouraged alienation be-
tween Bosniaks and other Bosnians, and sought closer
ties with Islamist countries like Saudi Arabia and Iran.
The most prominent Bosniak official today is Bakir
Izetbegovic, the current Bosniak member of the Presi-
dency of Bosnia and Herzegovina. 45 Bakir served dur-
ing the war as personal assistant and advisor to his
father, Alija Izetbegovic, who was then President of
Bosnia. After the war, from 1999 to 2003, Bakir was a
member of the managing board of the humanitarian
Islamic charity, Merhamet. Like other Islamic chari-
ties, Merhamet used its humanitarian work as a cover
during the war to deliver weapons to Bosnia. 46
It is unlikely that Izetbegovic, as a personal as-
sistant to the President, would have been unaware of
these activities. Nor could he have been unaware of
the initiative to bring mujahideen into Bosnia. In fact,
Dzevad Galijasevic, a former Party of Democratic Ac-
tion (SDA) official, in 2008, accused Izetbegovic of be-
ing one of the chief protectors of the mujahideen who
remained in Bosnia after the war. 47
Bakir, who for years directed the Construction Bu-
reau of Sarajevo Canton, was involved in the construc-
tion of the King Fahd Mosque and reportedly arranged
for the land on which the complex was built, previous-
ly owned by Serbs, to be donated to the Saudis. 48 This
mosque, the largest house of worship for Muslims in
the Balkans, is also known for its key role as the center
of Wahhabi influence and power in Bosnia. 49 As such,
it represents the antithesis of the moderate Islam tra-
ditionally practiced in Bosnia. Izetbegovic's connec-
tion to the mosque suggests that he does not share the
antipathy of many of his fellow Bosniaks for the type
of Islam that it propagates.
Another indication of Bakir's ideological orienta-
tion comes from his involvement in a secular initia-
tive to advance the observance of sharia, a key Islamist
goal and one that is vehemently opposed by moder-
ate Bosniaks. He was responsible for coordinating the
construction of the Bosna Bank International (BBI)
Center in Sarajevo, described as "the only commercial
shopping mall in Bosnia and Herzegovina that has
prohibited sales of pork and alcohol." 50 The BBI Center
was built by the BBI, the only bank in Bosnia to offer
sharia - compliant finance. 51 Among the principal goals
of s/zcmci-cornpliant finance is enhancing the appeal of
an Islamic political order. Another is to generate funds
that can be used to advance Islamist goals. 52
Finally, Bakir Izetbegovic is known for his sym-
pathies toward Iran. During his tenure in the BiH
presidency, bilateral ties between Bosnia and Iran
have expanded, including in trade and investment. 53
Izetbegovic called for even closer Iranian-Bosnian ties
during a meeting with then Iranian president Mah-
moud Ahmadinejad in February 2013 in Cairo, Egypt,
on the margins of an Organization of Islamic Coopera-
tion (OIC) meeting. 54 While a small country like Bosnia
naturally seeks to maintain good ties with powerful
countries, these initiatives stand out, coming as they
did at a time when the UN, the United States, and the
EU have put sanctions in place to isolate the regime
Some of those connections are particularly contro-
versial. The Sarajevo weekly Slobodna Bosna reported
that, according to the Iranian opposition, the Iranian
Ibn Sina Institute in Sarajevo, described as a scientific
research institute, is, in fact, the IRGC's headquarters
in the Balkans. The magazine also questioned the
bona fides of some 200 Iranian "businessmen" who
entered Bosnia in the first half of 2012, noting that they
appeared to lack business contacts. 55
The controversy only grows when official Iranians
are alleged to have connections to Islamist terrorism.
In the spring of 2013, Bakir became embroiled in a dis-
pute with Bosniak political rival Fahrudin Radoncic,
a former businessman who is currently the state-level
minister of security. 56 Bakir reportedly intervened
to oppose expelling two Iranian diplomats whom
Radoncic had accused of improper activities and de-
clared personae non grata. 57 The diplomats eventually
left, and a third was expelled in June 2013. 58 Two of
the three had reportedly made contact with the Wah-
habist leader in Gornja Maoca. 59 While no one has al-
leged any direct contact between Izetbegovic and the
Iranian diplomats, or between him and the enclave of
Gornja Maoca, the reports do raise questions about
whether Bosnia's most senior Bosniak politician is
opening the door to Iranian intelligence services and
Izetbegovic' s predecessor in the tri-presidency was
Haris Silajdzic. A prominent SDA politician, Silajdzic
was a former close associate of Alija Izetbegovic and
a senior member of his wartime cabinet, serving first
as foreign minister and then as prime minister. Dur-
ing that time, he also oversaw directly the effort to
bring mujahideen to Bosnia. 60 Silajdzic was an effective
spokesman for the Bosniak cause, making the case
that his side was Western, secular, and democratic.
However, his true convictions apparently lay with the
mujahideen : In July 1995, he declared an Islamic holy
war on Sarajevo TV and invited all Islamic states to
fight on the side of Bosnia's Muslims. 61
After the war, Silajdzic' s political career took sev-
eral twists and turns. He continued to hold high gov-
ernment positions, but in 1997, he left the SDA to form
the Party of Bosnia and Herzegovina. He resigned his
government and party positions abruptly on Septem-
ber 21, 2001, reportedly because of his radical connec-
tions, 62 but remerged 5 years later to win the election
to the tri-presidency.
In 2006, Silajdzic ran on a platform to abolish
the Federation and the Serb Republic entities and
strengthen the central Bosnian state — an unacceptable
proposal for any official of the Serb Republic. In of-
fice, he engaged in a very public and polarizing dis-
pute with Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik, thereby
contributing to the radicalization of Bosnian society.
In the opinion of analyst Steven Oluic, Silajdzic took
Bosnian society and politics back to the painful days
of 1995. It is also noteworthy that the Iranian gov-
ernment not only expressed pleasure at his election
but pledged him its continuing support. 63 In 2008,
Silajdzic was among those identified by Galijasevic as
one of the chief Bosnian protectors of the mujahideen
since the war. 64 Looking at ah these factors, there can
be little doubt of Silajdzic's Islamist convictions, de-
spite his ability to appeal to Western audiences as a
secularist democrat supposedly committed to multi-
Neither of those men, however, has had as last-
ing an impact on Bosnian politics and society as Alija
Izetbegovic, Bakir's father. Izetbegovic, the man af-
fectionately called "Dedo" (Grandpa) by many Bos-
niaks, 66 was Bosnia's president during the war and
then the first Bosniak member of the tri-presidency.
Throughout, he became the embodiment and sym-
bol of embattled Muslims. Many U.S. policymakers
considered him a leading proponent of multiethnic
democracy and tolerance. Yet, Izetbegovic left nu-
merous signs pointing to his Islamist ideology. Even
more importantly, he succeeded in forming an Is-
lamist cadre of insiders, including Haris Silajdzic and
Bakir Izetbegovic, which remains highly influential
today and has done much to shape Bosnia's post-war
Izetbegovic' s Islamist ideology is laid out in his fa-
mous political manifesto, The Islamic Declaration, 67 for
which, during the 1980s, he was sentenced to 5 years
in prison. 68 Some excerpts, shown in Box 2, provide
disturbing insights into his thinking.
The Islamic Declaration on Islamic Government
• ... the Islamic order posits two fundamen-
tal assumptions: an Islamic society and
Islamic governance. . . . An Islamic society
without an Islamic authority is incomplete
and without power; Islamic governance
without an Islamic society is either utopia
or violence (p. 26).
• There can be neither peace nor coexistence
between the Islamic religion and non-
Islamic social and political institutions
• ... the Islamic movement should and can
start to take over power as soon as it is
morally and numerically strong enough
to be able to overturn not only the existing
non-Islamic government, but also to build
up a new Islamic one. . . . (p. 56).
Simply put, Muslims living in a non-Muslim ma-
jority country should play by the rules of that coun-
try— until they are strong enough to overthrow the
system and install an Islamic government. Nothing
in the Declaration suggested any compromise toward
Most Westerners ignored the Declaration or dis-
missed its contents on the assumption that it had been
attacked by the Yugoslav government simply because
it was an anti-communist tract. But the Declaration was
much more than that— and it was politically relevant
after the fall of Yugoslavia. It was published in 1990
(before that, it was distributed secretly only) 69 and
later distributed to the troops of the Bosniak army. 70
Since then, the Declaration has figured prominently
in Bosniak-Serb political disputes. Bosnian Serb lead-
ers Radovan Karadzic and Milorad Dodik have both
testified before the International Criminal Tribunal
for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague, The
Czech Republic, that Izetbegovic intended to build an
Islamic state in Bosnia based on the concepts set out in
the Declaration. 71
Accusations of Izetbegovic' s continued commit-
ment to the ideology of the Declaration were consistent
with his marked preference for the Islamist regime in
Iran. That preference first surfaced in 1983, when he
was accused of seeking Iranian support for his cause. 72
Izetbegovic visited Iran in May 1991 as president of
Bosnia and obtained assurances of Iranian support a
year prior to the outbreak of hostilities. 73 His heavy re-
liance on Iran during the war presumably reinforced
his view of the Iranian Islamist regime as a genuine
ally. This positive view of Iran, as shown previously,
appears to be shared by his son, Bakir.
Ideology is, of course, of little impact without an
organization to implement it. Izetbegovic created such
an organization in the late-1980s: the SDA. Although
the SDA gave the impression of being a moderate
Muslim party in order to win Bosniak votes and gar-
ner Western sympathy, its inner core was comprised
of former Young Muslims. 74 The Young Muslims was
the conspiratorial group, patterned after the Muslim
Brotherhood, which Izetbegovic had joined in 1941.
It based its operations and program on Islamism, 75
and one of its main principles was the unification
of the Muslim world through the creation of a large
Muslim state. 76
Although the Yugoslav government did its best
to stamp out the group, it survived underground for
decades. Some of its leading members (Hasan Cengic,
Omer Behmen, Edhem Bicakcic, Huso Zivalj, and
Ismet Kasumagic), imprisoned with Izetbegovic in
1983, were assigned the most sensitive and important
tasks during the war. Hasan Cengic, for example, sat
on the board of directors of the Third World Relief
Agency (TWRA). TWRA was the principal conduit
for sending money (much of it from Iran) and arms
to Bosnia. 77 Omer Behmen handled SDA personnel
matters 78 before working the other end of the pipe-
line as ambassador to Iran. Muhammed Sacirbey,
Izetbegovic' s wartime ambassador to the UN, was the
son of Nedzib Saeirbegovic who had been imprisoned
with Izetbegovic after World War II. 79 Nedzib was ap-
pointed ambassador-at-large to Islamic countries. 80
Several Young Muslims continued their political
careers in the post-war period: Zivalj became Bosnia's
ambassador to the UN, and Bicakcic became prime
minister of the Federation. After the war, Cengic
served as Federation deputy defense minister until the
United States forced his dismissal . 81 Behmen focused
on ideology, working actively with Islamist youth or-
ganizations and educational institutions on a so-called
"third offensive" of the Young Muslims movement . 82
The fortunes of most of these individuals have
attracted little attention from U.S. policymakers, but
the same cannot be said for the activity that first drew
Western attention to Izetbegovic' s Islamist connec-
tions: his decision to bring mujahideen to Bosnia. His
personal connections reached the very top of al-Qae-
da: during the war Osama Bin Laden, who had been
issued a Bosnian passport, reportedly met Izetbegovic
in his Sarajevo office . 83
After the war, all foreign fighters were required to
leave Bosnia under the terms of the Dayton Peace Ac-
cords. Despite the best efforts of IFOR and the U.S.
Government, many still remained in the country —
and Izetbegovic protected them. He openly supported
supposedly disbanded mujahideen military units , 84
while numerous murders and other acts of violence,
particularly against Bosnian Croats living in the Fed-
eration, were carried out by those same mujahideen
and their Bosnian accomplices . 85
These were not just random acts of violence in a
lawless post-war period. Rather, the SDA was using
the mujahideen "as powerful leverage in a struggle
to maintain an ethnic majority in previously mixed
regions of Central Bosnia and Sarajevo. . . ." 86 In the
process, Bosnia itself became the victim: Independent
Bosniak journalist Senad Avdic reportedly accused
the party of turning the country into "a European
dump for all kinds of scum, murderers, terrorists,
and adventurers of all sorts who have earned the
status of equal citizens of this country with 'selam'
and 'tekbir '." 87
During the same period, more than 200 Iranian
agents reportedly infiltrated Bosniak political and so-
cial circles as well as the U.S. "Train and Equip" mili-
tary program, collaborating closely with a pro-Iranian
faction within the Bosniak intelligence service. These
agents aimed to gather information, sow dissension
between Bosniak and Croat participants in "Train and
Equip," and turn Bosniak leaders against the West.
It is highly unlikely that Izetbegovic was unaware of
this activity, as the Bosniak intelligence service at that
time reported directly to him. 88
In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of 9/11,
a number of terrorists were apprehended, and the
charities funding them were closed. Then moderate
political parties won a national election, and Munir
Alibabic, a senior Bosniak security expert known for
opposing al-Qaeda and the Iranian influence, was
appointed head of the Federation Intelligence and
Security Service. 89
In May 2002, Alibabic arrested five senior Bosniak
officials connected to the SDA on suspicion of terror-
ism and espionage. The officials were allegedly linked
to the murders of Croats, bomb blasts at Catholic
sites, and two high-profile assassinations. The SDA
protested; all were released in October 2002, and no
indictment was ever brought. 90 Instead, Alibabic was
dismissed by OHR's High Representative Paddy Ash-
down for mishandling intelligence information. 91
The SDA soon returned to power, making rev-
elations of its misdeeds even more unlikely, while at
the same time, the accusations fester and suspicions
remain regarding their Islamist sympathies. As one
analyst wrote, "There are countless examples of local
authorities in Bosnia failing to act properly against Is-
lamic extremism. The majority of these criminal cases
have not been resolved and when the terrorists are
identified the trials take years." 92 The SDA top leader-
ship may be innocent of the charges leveled against it,
but it has made no effort to clear the air.
Much about Izetbegovic's wartime activities might
have become known had he lived longer: At the time
of his death in 2003, the ICTY was investigating him
for alleged war crimes. However, after he died, the
ICTY closed its investigation, thus shutting off a major
avenue of inquiry that might have illuminated some
of these murky postwar terrorist activities.
Much of the support for Bosniak nationalist par-
ties and policies comes from former Grand Mufti of
Sarajevo Mustafa Ceric. For years, he led the Islamic
Community, the official Muslim organization in Bos-
nia. Despite his position in a religious hierarchy, Ceric
"has been and is playing an increasingly important
political role among Bosniaks, that often surpasses
that of any politician," according to a Bosnian human
rights advocate. 93 Like Silajdzic, Ceric set himself up
in opposition to Dodik, continuing wartime rhetoric
by portraying Bosniaks as victims in mortal danger
from the Serbs.
Feted in Western Europe as a moderate Muslim,
Ceric enjoys a different reputation at home, where he
is known as "homo duplex," the man with two faces.
This nickname arises from numerous indications that
he is anything but "moderate" — a judgment based on
his ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, his view regard-
ing the imposition of sharia, and his positions on Wah-
habism. These range from refusing to condemn it to
hurling accusations of Islamophobia at anyone who
Ceric's current ties to the Muslim Brotherhood
arise from his membership in two pan-European or-
ganizations: the European Council for Research and
Fatwa, a Brotherhood-linked group chaired by Sheikh
Yousef al-Qaradawi, the spiritual leader of the Broth-
erhood, and the UK-based "Radical Middle Way,"
which includes a wide range of scholars associated
with the global Muslim Brotherhood. 94
On several occasions, Ceric has publicly advocated
positions consistent with Brotherhood ideology. For
example, in 2006, he issued the document, "A Decla-
ration of European Muslims," in which he declared
European Muslims (including Bosniaks) fully com-
mitted to the values of democracy and human rights
but called, among other things, for the partial imple-
mentation of sharia. 95 Several years later he argued, in
a speech in Berlin, Germany, that implementing sharia
would not be contrary to Bosnia's constitution— a po-
sition that would probably surprise most Bosniaks. 96
Over the years, Ceric has refused to condemn
Wahhabism. His position stands in stark contrast to
that of representatives and leaders of the Islamic Com-
munity in Montenegro, who did not hesitate to con-
demn Wahhabist activities. 97 Ceric has implied that
his stance simply reflects his relative weakness. The
King Fahd Mosque and many other religious institu-
tions funded by the Saudis who spread Wahhabism
are not under the control of the Islamic Community.
When asked if Saudi funding was deleterious, Ceric
replied that Bosnia was in no position to turn down
money from Saudi Arabia, which, after all, was an ally
of the West. 98
But Ceric goes far beyond what would be required
if he were simply bowing to a stronger player. He at-
tacks critics of Wahhabism for being "Islamophobes"
(a well-known, if poorly-defined, term coined by the
Muslim Brotherhood), and has led the way in devel-
oping the concept of "good" versus "bad" Bosniaks.
As the Embassy in Sarajevo reported in a 2009 clas-
sified cable released by Wikileaks:
'Good Bosniaks/ according to this sentiment, are those
who espouse conservative political and religious ide-
als. More moderate and secular ideals are, by impli-
cation, held by 'bad Bosniaks.' Statements from the
Islamic Community, particularly its leader, [Grand
Mufti] Ceric, that label those who criticize Islamic
Community as 'Islamophobic' have sharpened this
polarization among Bosniaks . 99
Indeed, in 2010 and 2011, the Islamic Community
issued reports on Islamophobia, cataloguing all the
statements and actions that it believes express intoler-
ance, hate, and hostility against Islam and Muslims.
The definition deliberately obscures any differences
among Muslims. 100
In 2012, Ceric was replaced as Grand Mufti by
Hussein Effendi Kavazovic, the mufti of Tuzla who is
considered close to Ceric. 101 The well-known observer
group. International Crisis Group (ICG), recently sug-
gested that "[t]he Islamic community's best contribu-
tion would be to help craft a vision for Bosnia that
Croats and Serbs can share." 102 The Islamic Commu-
nity, after years of Ceric's leadership, has a long way
to go to address the Islamism in its midst. Until that
happens, the Community is unlikely to produce a uni-
fying vision that all Bosnians can support.
In fact, the long-term impact of the Islamism of
these men and their colleagues, subordinates, and
supporters will most likely be extremely detrimen-
tal to the future of the country. Bosniak terror expert
Dzevad Galijasevic describes the danger vividly:
Active Islamism is pushing one's own nation in the
whirlpool of problems of other Islamic countries. It is
getting Bosnian Muslims interested in events in the
Arab world, in the Iranian revolution, in the Islamic
Republic of Pakistan. It is bringing Bosnia closer to
Palestine. It is turning Muslims' true historical broth-
ers, Serbs and Croats, into eternal and irreconcilable
enemies, and turning Arabs into the only and actual
brothers who look, behave, and talk differently and
have a completely different view of the family, the
state, and themselves . 103
The following section examines in more detail the
way in which Islamism promotes alienation among
Bosnian ethnic groups.
ISLAMISM AND INTER-ETHNIC TENSIONS
Analysts often blame the failure to build a Bosnian
state on the Serbs and Croats. Certainly, members of
both ethnic groups have contributed to that failure,
in part by their own actions and in part because of
the external "pull" from a neighboring state. Croa-
tia offers Bosnian Croats refuge in a country that is
becoming Western, joining NATO and the EU, and
achieving prosperity — unlike Bosnia — and some Cro-
ats have already left. Bosnian Serbs have not been
so lucky: Serbia and the vision of Greater Serbia are
languishing in the political, economic, and social
doldrums. Yet, Serbia was once an economic power-
house, and even today Bosnian Serbs dream about
reuniting the Serb Republic with it, regardless of any
It is wrong, however, to disregard the "push" fac-
tors (aside from the poor economy) that also exert a
powerful influence on Bosnian Serbs and Croats. One
very important factor is embedded in Balkan history
during the period when the Ottoman Empire enforced
sharia. Sharia covers all aspects of life, not just religious
doctrine and practice, and applies to non-Muslims as
well as to Muslims. It grants Islam a privileged, pro-
tected status, and conflicts directly with Western con-
cepts such as freedom of speech and religion and uni-
versal human rights. There is no equality before the
law; for example, men have more rights than women,
and Muslims have more rights than non-Muslims.
Non-Muslims are not allowed to rule over Muslims. 104
Under the Ottomans, in accordance with sharia,
non-Muslims were "tolerated;" that is, they were al-
lowed to maintain their religious communities and
laws but enjoyed fewer rights than Muslims in a sys-
tem now referred to as dhimmitude. The presence of
non-Muslims was tolerated as long as they played by
the rules. Failure to do so meant that they were no lon-
ger protected and could be killed. 105
Bosnian Serbs and Croats have not forgotten this
system of dhimmitude. When Bosniak politicians talk
about tolerance, Serbs and Croats suspect that they re-
ally mean a political system in which Muslims domi-
nate. Similarly, Serbs and Croats dismiss Bosniak
leaders' affirmations of their commitment to multi-
ethnicity, since under sharia, "multiethnic" means
that many different ethnicities co-exist peacefully —
but only under Muslim domination and according to
These tensions would exist to some degree, regard-
less of which political ideology was dominant among
Bosniaks. As historian Aleksa Djilas described the
problem in 1992:
Muslims imagined Bosnia as an independent state
in which they would predominate. Although it was
only Muslim extremists who thought non-Muslims
should be expelled from Bosnia, most Muslim lead-
ers believed only a Muslim should be allowed full
citizenship. Religious Muslims based their demand
for supremacy on the traditional belief that the rule
of non-Muslims over Muslims was blasphemous. But
most Muslims were typical nationalists. They wanted
more for their group. . . . 106
Islamists do, in fact, hold more extreme views
than do traditional Muslims regarding the treatment
of non-Muslims. The results are obvious in numerous
countries today where the Muslim Brotherhood, along
with other Islamist groups, has contributed greatly to
the destruction of property, torture, murder, and mass
migration of non-Muslims from lands where they had
lived for over 1,400 years.
In his Islamic Declaration, 107 Alija Izetbegovic, took
a less extreme position regarding non-Muslims, but
one that nevertheless provides no comfort to Bosnian
Serbs and Croats. The Declaration's message is simple:
Muslims should play by the democratic rules until
they are strong enough to impose an Islamic state.
Once there is an Islamic state, non-Muslims may re-
main, but only in a subordinate status. If Christians
abandoned their religious organization, Izetbegovic
was prepared to offer them "understanding and coop-
eration." (See Box 3.)
The Islamic Declaration on Living
Muslims in a non-Islamic state:
• Muslim minorities within a non-Islamic
community, provided they are guaranteed
freedom to practice their religion, to live
and develop normally, are loyal and must
fulfill all their commitments to that com-
munity, except those which harm Islam
and Muslims (p. 50).
• The position of Muslim minorities in non-
Islamic communities will always in reality
depend on the strength of the international
Islamic community and the esteem in
which it is held (p. 50).
Non-Muslim minorities in an Islamic state:
• The non-Muslim minorities within an
Islamic state, provided they are loyal, en-
joy religious freedom and all protection
• [W]e differentiate between Christ's teach-
ing and the church. The former we regard
as the pronunciation of God, deformed on
some points, and the latter as an organiza-
tion, which . . . has become not only non-
Islamic, but anti-Christian, (p. 68)
• If Christians so wish, the future may offer
an example of understanding and coop-
eration between two great religions for the
well-being of people and mankind (p. 68).
The influence that Islamists hold in Bosnia is also
key with regard to their publicly stated goal of estab-
lishing a global Caliphate. The Caliphate last existed
under the Ottoman Empire. While talking about it may
baffle or bemuse Westerners, the reference is all too
clear to inhabitants of the Balkans. This Islamist goal
is dangerous because it also appeals to non-Islamist
Muslims and because it is shared by two increasingly
important foreign players: Turkey and the OIC.
The importance of Bosnia to Turkey has been abun-
dantly clear ever since Turkey joined the UN wartime
peacekeeping mission there in the 1990s. The Turkish
military remained in its headquarters in Zenica after
the cessation of hostilities and joined the IFOR/SFOR
mission. The military transitioned seamlessly to the
EUFOR Althea follow-on mission, where Turkey is
now the second largest troop-contributing nation. 108
In recent years, Turkey has used its relative eco-
nomic strength to build influence in the Balkans. Its
trade with those countries has increased, as has its
investment in Bosnia. On the cultural side, Turkish
companies have built the largest university campus
in the Balkans in Ilidza, a suburb of Sarajevo. 109 These
developments are all the more visible, given the ab-
sence of increased investment from Europe or the
United States. Turkish diplomats have also been very
active in seeking to promote reconciliation among the
Regional conciliation and economic development
are laudable goals, and even cultural ties with Turkey
are welcomed by many ethnic groups. 110 The nostalgia
of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and
Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu for the Ottoman
Empire, however, is more likely to raise the hackles
of non-Muslims. 111 A good example of this is the con-
troversy provoked by remarks that Davutoglu made
at a 2009 Sarajevo conference on "Ottoman Heritage
and Muslim Communities in the Balkans Today." His
speech was ambiguous: He proclaimed that "[n]ow is
the time for reunification" in the form of "reestablish-
ing ownership in the region, through reestablishing
multicultural coexistence, and through establishing a
new economic zone." 112 He did not specify what he
meant by "reunification," nor who the new owner
would be, but he clearly meant Turkey to dominate.
For those Bosnians who put Davutoglu' s remarks in
a historical context, his call for "multicultural coexis-
tence" was likely to be interpreted as a reference to the
Ottoman system of dhimmitude. Nor was it much more
helpful to place the remarks in a modern context, giv-
en that Christians feel increasingly endangered in an
even-more "Islamist" Turkey. 113
Turkish "neo-Ottomanism" in itself is unlikely to
become a credible threat to Bosnians, since the Ameri-
can Embassy in Ankara described Turkey as having
"Rolls Royce ambitions, but Rover resources." 114 But
the topic itself remains sensitive. Were the Bosniak
leadership genuinely committed to reconciling Bos-
nia's ethnic groups, it would presumably find some
diplomatic way to cushion or rebut such statements.
In addition to its bilateral ties to Turkey, Saudi Ara-
bia, and Iran, Bosnia has observer status at the OIC,
the international organization representing 56 Muslim
countries and the Palestinian Authority. Saudi Arabia
provides the most funding for the OIC; Iran, Pakistan,
Malaysia, Indonesia, and Turkey are other leading
members. While not an Islamist organization, the OIC
is dedicated to advancing Islam throughout the world
and to supporting Muslim minorities in non-Islamic
countries. It shares the vision of a global Caliphate
that implements sharia and, indeed, claims to be its
present embodiment. 115 From time to time, OIC mem-
bers may be at odds with the Muslim Brotherhood,
but both organizations nevertheless cooperate to pro-
mote mutual objectives.
During an April 2013 visit to Sarajevo, OIC Sec-
retary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu urged Bosnia
to upgrade to full membership. Bakir Izetbegovic
suggested that full membership would be useful to
Bosnia by giving it access to OIC development fund-
ing. 116 Were this to occur, Bosnia would presumably
have to adopt any existing OIC agreements or conven-
tions, including the 1990 Cairo Declaration on Human
Rights. 117 The Cairo Declaration rules out any rights
incompatible with the Koran. That principle negates
much of Western human rights, such as equality for
religious minorities and freedom of speech, including
the right to criticize Islam.
The OIC reinforces the tenets of the Cairo Declara-
tion by means of annual reports on Islamophobia in
Western countries, similar to the reports on Bosnia
prepared by the Islamic Community. Bosnian OIC
membership would probably give added impetus to
this exercise, making it ever more difficult to criticize
Islamist policies or groups. The OIC could be expected
to show an active interest in Bosnian internal devel-
opments, as it recently resuscitated its Bosnia Contact
Group from the early-1990s. 118 There is little chance
that the OIC would remain neutral regarding disputes
between Bosniaks and Bosnian Serbs and Croats.
Given all these factors, Bakir Izetbegovic' s com-
ments in favor of full OIC membership were hardly
designed to improve inter-ethnic relations. Bos-
nian Serbs and Croats may exaggerate the threat of
Islamism or potential Islamic dominance, but the
Bosniak leadership certainly provides them with
plenty of ammunition.
POTENTIAL SOURCES OF VIOLENCE
Many observers worry that the situation in Bos-
nia could spiral downward into violence, and call for
Western intervention, whether political or military, to
ward off such a development. This section reviews po-
tential sources of destabilizing violence as a prelude to
discussing Western options.
Few observers think that renewed inter-ethnic ten-
sion could lead to the level of violence that occurred
in the early-1990s. Partly, this is because, as detailed
previously, the impetus in Serbia or Croatia to fuel a
civil war or to intervene directly is greatly reduced
from what it was 2 decades ago.
Moreover, Bosnian military forces have under-
gone significant change. In 2006, the armies of the
three "former warring factions" were melded into a
unified Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina
(AFBiH) under a central ministry of defense, and radi-
cally downsized. The force has a mandated strength
of 10,000 professional soldiers, with a reserve of 5,000,
and 1,000 civilian employees. According to a 2011
study, actual troops are estimated to be only 8,500, of
which an estimated 2,000 troops are required to guard
defense sites containing arms and munitions. The
reserves are inactive. Lack of funding constrains the
army's efforts to meet NATO standards and to con-
tribute troops to NATO missions. 119
The AFBiH, although small in size, is courted in to-
day's highly politicized environment. The 2011 study
reported "numerous incidents ... of political leaders
addressing AFBiH officers and troops with nationalist
statements at events with nationalist symbols, includ-
ing politicians from neighboring states." 120 However,
few think that the ethnically integrated command
structure is likely to do anything rash. Rather, "[t]he
general fear is not that the AFBiH will generate insta-
bility, but rather that it could fall victim to deepening
political instability." 121
During and after the war, the separate secret police
structures of the three ethnic groups were responsible
for much mayhem and havoc. Today, they have, at
least formally, been dismantled and their functions
taken over since 2004 by the OSA. The OSA is charged
with intelligence gathering to protect the security, ter-
ritorial integrity, and constitutional order of Bosnia. 122
OSA has been praised for its professional conduct
and political independence. 123 Unfortunately, it must
share its responsibility for pursuing organized crime
with the regular police forces and the judiciary, who
remain more vulnerable to political pressure and cor-
ruption. 124 In the polarized atmosphere of recent years,
there is little chance this will change. OSA must also
share its duty to combat terrorism with many other
agencies. While Bosnia has made overall progress in
this area, occasional lapses such as the mysterious dis-
appearance from prison of the well-known terrorist
Karay Kamel bin Ali, aka Abu Hamza, still occur. 125
If Bosnia's neighbors and its armed forces appear
unlikely to initiate ethnic violence, that does not mean
there is no threat. The authors of the 2011 security
study cited previously, worry about the possibility of
lower-level violence, which will most likely coalesce
along ethnic lines. People who could be drawn into
such violence include members of various domestic
groups like football hooligans, special forces, and in-
telligence veterans now employed by private security
companies, or individuals in the police forces and
judiciary — two key institutions in which reforms to
establish professionalism and impartiality remain in-
complete. 126 Such violence, while short of war, could
nevertheless be devastating to regular, law-abiding
THE U.S. POLICY ENVIRONMENT
For most Americans, the Balkans faded from view
a decade ago, and Bosnia is a long-forgotten, remote
place of no particular interest. At the time, however,
the Bill Clinton administration and much of the for-
eign policy elite feted making and keeping the peace
in Bosnia as a significant foreign policy achievement.
The George H. W. Bush administration, initially skep-
tical, maintained the SFOR mission and then termi-
nated it successfully. This success contrasts with the
disillusionment over subsequent U.S. missions in Iraq
Indeed, there was reason to celebrate. Conditions
in Bosnia remained largely peaceful throughout the 9
years of IFOR/SFOR deployment: SFOR retained its
authority, kept casualties to a minimum, and helped
bring about significant defense and military reforms.
When SFOR departed in 2004, the handover to EUFOR
was not only orderly and peaceful, but welcomed by
the EU. It was not until 2 years after SFOR's departure
that Bosnia's political environment began to unravel.
Geopolitically, there is much to be said for seek-
ing to ensure that Bosnia retains its territorial integrity
and Western orientation— that, like most other Euro-
pean countries, it joins both NATO and the EU. Yet,
today, these desired outcomes are far from assured.
Calls for a third, Croat entity or other forms of Croat
separatism threaten the current fragile political bal-
ance within the Federation. Russia has courted the
Bosnian Serbs as they call for secession and/ or a ref-
erendum on NATO accession, 127 and the OIC has done
the same with the Bosniaks. Were Bosnia to split into
three parts, the Bosniak rump state would come under
strong pressure to join the OIC and could, in so doing,
set a decidedly non-Western course.
The Europeans are as mindful of these risks as are
the Americans, but the EU's recent experiences have
made them very pessimistic about what outsiders can
do if Bosnians refuse to help themselves. In addition,
the EU is preoccupied with urgent problems of its
own, such as the recurring euro crisis.
Nor is the EU equipped to resolve Bosnia's inter-
ethnic tensions. On such issues, fuzzy rhetoric prevails,
not constructive policies or actions. For example, EU
Council President Herman Van Rompuy, in response
to a complaint by Bosnian Croat Cardinal Vinko Puljic
that Bosnian Muslim discrimination was driving out
Catholics, countered that a "European perspective"
(e.g., EU membership) "is the only way to overcome
the crisis." 128 Exactly how this transformation would
work is unclear, especially since the European Com-
mission, in its 2012 annual report on Bosnia, devoted
one short paragraph out of 60 pages to the issue of
religious discrimination — and offered a high-level in-
terfaith meeting as a remedy. 129
Puljic had linked the tension between Muslims and
Catholics to the growth of Islamism, arguing that "[t]
ime is running out as there is a worrisome rise in radi-
calism." Yet, the Bosnian government has done more
than its EU counterparts to combat Islamism. No EU
government has conducted a raid like the one in 2010
on the Wahhabist village of Gornja Maoca, despite
the growth in various West European cities of similar,
s/za na-implementing enclaves.
Instead, EU governments categorize these areas as
no-go zones and advise non-Muslims to avoid them.
They appear to have no plan for keeping sharia zones
from undermining the democratic rule of law in their
countries or from incubating or protecting terrorists.
Expecting the EU to solve Bosnia's current problems
tied to Islamism is simply unrealistic.
Given the deteriorating conditions in Bosnia, some
have called for the United States to reassert leadership
there before violence breaks out again. Two proposals
by experts on Bosnia are worth examining: first, for
a new military mission, and second, for accelerated
Bosnian entry into NATO.
A New Military Mission.
Janusz Bugajski of the Center for Strategic and In-
ternational Studies argues that ground forces must be
deployed to avert violence. Unlike IFOR/SFOR, Eu-
ropean nations should assume primary responsibility,
while the United States provides "strong diplomatic,
political, and logistical support." The exercise would
be backed by "a firmer trans-Atlantic strategic com-
mitment to bringing all countries in the region into
both NATO and the EU ." 130
Bugajski's proposal assumes that an international
military force would not only forestall violence, but
return Bosnia to a path of reform that would allow
it to join NATO and the EU. However, hopes that a
military mission could restart reforms appear to be
based on a misreading of the past. SFOR and NATO's
follow-on military headquarters in Sarajevo were, in-
deed, instrumental in pushing for a unified Bosnian
military, one of the major post-Dayton achievements.
SFOR, however, had the authority to weigh in on de-
fense sector reforms because military oversight fell
within its purview under Annex 1A of the Dayton
It is by no means clear why another military mis-
sion would succeed in putting Bosnia back on track
to join either organization. The stumbling block to
NATO accession is purely political: The Bosnian Serbs
are not only refusing to transfer military facilities to
the central state but have called NATO membership
itself into question. It would be suicidal for an interna-
tional military mission to inject itself into this dispute.
Nor could such a mission help promote EU ac-
cession, a far-more-complex and demanding process
than NATO accession — covering everything from ag-
riculture to finance to transport — and in which a mili-
tary mission would have neither authority nor exper-
tise. A military mission by itself is highly unlikely to
somehow cajole or force Bosnians back onto the path
of reform and nation-building. Although a military
mission is unlikely to advance either NATO or EU ac-
cession, it could still appear attractive if an outbreak
of violence were to threaten the gains made in Bos-
nia since Dayton. Again, the comparison with IFOR/
SFOR could prove misleading on several counts.
First, IFOR/SFOR relied heavily on European
troop contributors. Yet, the European experiences in
Bosnia since SFOR's departure in 2004 have not been
positive. The EU-led EUFOR in Sarajevo has not fared
well; it began with 7,000 troops in December 2004 and
has since been reduced to a troop level of 600. 131 This
reduction reflects its drop in effectiveness. According
to Azinovic et al, most observers believe that EUFOR's
visibility is its only contribution; that its ability to de-
ter politically directed violence is very limited. 132
In part, this decline is the result of troop require-
ments for other missions, as EU military forces are
also required for NATO, UN, and national military
missions. But it has also occurred because the EU po-
litical establishment has failed to support EUFOR. For
example, in March 2011, the EU Political and Security
Committee (PSC), charged with political control and
strategic guidance for the mission, 133 simply did not
respond when told that EUFOR needed three times
the existing force requirement. 134 EUFOR' s composi-
tion reflects this lack of political commitment: West
European countries have already pulled out, leaving
Austria, Turkey, Hungary, and Bulgaria as the main
Second, after several painful experiences, SFOR
determined that the best units for dealing with low-
level violence were paramilitary police or gendarmes
(which the United States does not have). These units
specialize in subduing civilian crowds like football
hooligans and are much better equipped than regu-
lar soldiers to deal with "rent-a-mobs" that include
women and children, or with other low-level threats
encountered in Bosnia. Yet, the EUFOR withdrawals
included European gendarmerie forces; today only
some Turkish gendarmes remain in EUFOR. 135 Their
use against Serb or Croat crowds is probably limited.
Third, the United States cannot expect to project
much influence by means of over-the-horizon forces.
NATO now provides EUFOR such support; yet that
alone is insufficient to boost EUFOR capabilities. Giv-
en European "Bosnia fatigue," the inescapable conclu-
sion is that any new mission would most likely have
to include U.S. ground troops, of which Army units
would be the principal component.
Were U.S. policymakers at some point to contem-
plate a mission involving U.S. forces, they would need
to factor in the increased danger from Islamism, par-
ticularly Islamist terrorism. For much of the 9 years of
IFOR/SFOR operations in Bosnia, the mujahideen were
forced into hiding. Izetbegovic protected them, but his
room for maneuvering was limited both by U.S. policy
and by widespread pro-Americanism and anti-Wah-
habism among Bosniaks.
Nevertheless, IFOR/SFOR enjoyed only limited
success in combating terrorism — unsurprisingly, as it
was tasked primarily with maintaining a safe and se-
cure environment. The list of high-profile internation-
al plots hatched during and after SFOR's tenure (see
Box 1) shows the difficulty a military force with only
limited counterterrorist capabilities has in deterring
such activity, especially when local officials shield the
terrorists from outside pressure.
Today's NATO presence is no better equipped to
deal with a terrorist threat. Counterterrorism is not
even among the top three missions of the current
NATO headquarters in Sarajevo. 136 Nor would prepar-
ing Bosnia for NATO membership help, as the acces-
sion requirements revolve primarily around issues of
democratic legitimacy and defense-sector capabilities.
In addition, Islamist anti-Americanism has now
had a chance to put down roots. How deep those roots
are is hard to determine, but the possibility of jihad-
ist violence against U.S. or Western troops is probably
greater than it was previously. Some terrorists would
likely be homegrown and able to blend more easily
into the native population. Any new mission would
have to factor this enhanced threat into its planning.
Shortly before the Dayton Peace Accords and the
start of IFOR, General Charles G. Boyd, USAF (Ret.),
former deputy commander of the European Com-
mand, argued that the United States should give equal
weight to the fears and aspirations of Serbs as well as
to those of Muslims and Croats. He further argued
that military action alone would not bring about a last-
ing peace . 137 Eighteen years later, his analysis remains
relevant. Political disputes are at the base of Bosnia's
problems, some of which reflect the destabilizing and
deleterious impact of Islamism. Without a policy that
addresses such problems, no military mission is likely
Accelerated NATO Membership.
Balkan expert Edward P. Joseph wants the United
States to refocus on achieving Bosnian membership in
NATO rather than the EU, as it is more obtainable. He
predicts that accelerated NATO membership would
transform the political climate in Bosnia, ending any
debate over changes to its territorial integrity . 138 In a
similar vein, military expert Steven Oluic writes that
"Bosnia's ability to resist extremism and radical Islam
depends on continued Western engagement in the
region and the recent phenomena of moderate Bos-
niaks challenging the radical Islamists and their ide-
ologies ." 139 Unfortunately, if the West pushes Bosnian
Serbs to transfer military facilities to the central state
without acknowledging or countering their concerns
about Islamism or Muslim dominance, this move is
unlikely to succeed and may only increase opposition
Bosnia's eventual NATO membership would raise
other issues, not only because part of the Bosniak po-
litical elite has ties to Islamist groups like the Muslim
Brotherhood, but also because Bosnia is openly culti-
vating closer ties with Iran at a time when the Western
world is united in applying sanctions to that country.
It is also difficult to predict how Bosnia and other
Balkan countries with large Muslim populations and
growing Islamist influence will react to future NATO
crisis operations in Muslim countries.
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR THE U.S. ARMY
This monograph has laid out in detail arguments
against a new military mission in Bosnia. Neverthe-
less, should U.S. policymakers consider the possibil-
ity, the OSD and the JCS should point out the fact that
such a mission is unlikely to solve Bosnia's political
problems or expedite NATO/EU membership but
would instead face serious difficulties. Their analysis
could draw on the extensive experience acquired by
the U.S. Army during 9 years of IFOR/SFOR deploy-
ment in the country, as well as on the expertise gained
by participation in the NATO headquarters unit
The analysis could include:
• The reasons a military mission would be un-
likely to advance Bosnia's accession to NATO.
In particular, NATO could hurt the process by
putting pressure on the Bosnian Serbs to give
more power to a central state they fear will be
dominated by Muslims.
• A reminder that IFOR/SFOR and NATO suc-
cess in unifying the armies of the three ethnic
groups and in creating a central ministry of
defense occurred in a sector where they had ex-
pertise and exercised authority. A new military
mission would be unlikely to repeat that suc-
cess in nonmilitary sectors.
• The difficult experience of our European Allies
under the EUFOR and their decision to disen-
gage from Bosnia make it unlikely that they
would be willing to provide troops for a new
• The threat of low-level violence and the limited
ability of U.S. military troops to combat it make
European gendarme forces critical. Yet, those
troops are unlikely to be available.
• Security-related developments in the country
have deteriorated since SFOR's departure. An-
ti-Americanism has grown as poorer Bosnians
are radicalized by Wahhabis or other Islamist
groups, while homegrown Bosnian terrorists
as well as former mujahideen may threaten U.S.
personnel or facilities.
With regard to the expedited entry of Bosnia into
NATO, OSD and JCS should ensure that policymak-
ers focus on broader political issues that to date have
received insufficient attention, particularly:
• The danger of pushing for a central state that
Bosnian Serbs will never accept if they see it as
a vehicle to reduce them to the status of second-
class citizens in a Muslim-dominated state.
• The danger of sharing classified information
and decisionmaking with Bosnian politicians
and representatives with ties to the Muslim
Brotherhood and Iran.
To prepare for such a debate, the U.S. Euro-
pean Command (EUCOM) and U.S. Army Europe
(USAREUR) may wish to retrieve any available in-
house expertise and institutional memory on Bosnia,
particularly among those who have served or are serv-
ing in those commands, as well as those who served
on OSD's Balkans Task Force.
Unfortunately, the U.S. military presence in Eu-
rope is a shadow of what it was during the IFOR/
SFOR mission, and many such individuals have dis-
persed or been engaged for years in missions in Iraq,
Afghanistan, or elsewhere. However, civilian analysts
and political advisers, including individuals who
served in the NATO headquarters in Sarajevo, may
have valuable in-country experience to contribute. In
addition, consulting present and past EUFOR partici-
pants could prove useful.
1. Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Romania, and Slovenia have
joined NATO, while Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia, Monte-
negro, and Serbia are members of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership
Council. Of these, only Serbia has not indicated a desire to join
NATO. Bulgaria, Croatia, Romania, and Slovenia have joined the
EU, and Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia have been accept-
ed as candidates. Albania and Bosnia-Herzegovina are potential
2. The United States "remainfs] committed to the Dayton
principles of one sovereign and functional Bosnia and Herzegovi-
na comprised of two vibrant entities and Brcko District and based
on the equality of three constituent peoples and others." See Sara-
jevo. usembassy.gov/speech_201 30703.html.
3. Lana Pasic, "Sources of Energy in Bosnia and Herzegov-
ina, and Implications for Energy Security," Balkananalysis.com,
May 9, 2011.
4. Boris Divjak and Michael Pugh, "The Political Economy of
Corruption in Bosnia and Herzegovina," International Peacekeep-
ing, Vol. 15, No. 3, June 2008, pp. 373-386.
5. "Improving Opportunities for Young People in Bosnia Her-
zegovina," World Bank website, February 14, 2013.
6. "Ante Markovic's testimony," Novi List, October 24, 2003.
7. Ajdin Kamber, "Segregated Bosnian Schools Reinforce Eth-
nic Division," Institute for War & Peace Reporting, May 3, 2011.
8. Morton Abramowitz and James Hooper, "The Death of the
Bosnian State," The National Interest, July 20, 2011. The next cen-
sus was held in October 2013. The State Department's 2012 report
on religious freedom cites a higher number, 15 percent, based on
information from Bosnian statistical authorities. See www.ecoi.net/
local_link/247588/3 5781 3 _en.html.
9. "Focus on Bosnia Herzegovina," Gallup Balkan Monitor,
GMB Focus on #04, November 2010.
10. Anes Alic and Vildana Skocajic, "Understanding Bosnia,
Part One," ISN Security Watch, February 26, 2009.
11. "Public Opinion Poll, Bosnia and Herzegovina, BiH, Au-
gust 2010," Washington, DC: National Democratic Institute, p. 5.
12. "Independent Evaluation of the National Youth Policy in
Bosnia-Herzegovina," UN, Sarajevo, April 29, 2005.
13. Index Mundi puts Bosnia's estimated 2012 total fertility
rate at 1.24 children born to each woman of childbearing age; a
rate of 2.1 is required to maintain a population. See www.index-
mundi. com/hosnia_and_herzegovina/demographics _profile. html.
14. See The Failed States Index 2013, available from ffr.statesin-
15. "NATO's Relations with Bosnia and Herzegovina,"
NATO website, available from www.nato.int/cps/en/natolive/topics_
16. Steven Woehrel, "Bosnia and Herzegovina: Current Is-
sues and U.S. Policy," Congressional Research Service, (CRS) Report
R40479, Washington, DC: CRS, January 24, 2013.
17. "Bosnia and Herzegovina 2012 Progress Report," Europe-
an Commission SWD (2012) 335 Final, Brussels, Belgium, October
10, 2012, pp. 4-5.
18. "Bosnia's Human Rights Record Hinders EU talks."
EurAktiv.com, May 24, 2013.
19. See, for example, the European Commission's belabored
analysis: "[a] shared vision among the political representatives on
the overall direction and future of the country and its institutional
set-up for the qualitative step forward on the country's EU path
remain absent." Quoted in "Commission Proposes Candidate
Statue for Albania," EurAktiv.com, October 11, 2012.
20. Christopher Deliso, The Coming Balkan Caliphate: The Threat
of Radical Islam to Europe and the West, Westport, CT: Praeger Secu-
rity International, 2007, p. 8.
21. Evan Kohlmann, Al-Qaida's Jihad in Europe: The Afghan-
Bosnian Network, Oxford, UK: Berg, 2004, pp. xii-xiii.
22. John R. Schindler, Unholy Terror: Bosnia, Al-Qa'ida, and the
Rise of Global Jihad, St. Paul, MN: Zenith Press, 2007, pp. 295-309.
23. Kohlmann, Al-Qaida's Jihad in Europe, pp. 224-225.
24. Suzana Mijatovic, "Tajna Diplomatska Ofanziva Iranaca u
BiH," Slobodna Bosna, October 25, 2012.
25. Christopher Deliso, "Israeli Security Concerns and the
Balkans," Balkananalysis.com, March 31, 2013, p. 14.
26. Woehrel, "Bosnia and Herzegovina."
27. "Country Reports on Terrorism," Washington, DC: US
Department of State, May 20, 2013; and "EU Terrorism Situation
and Trend Report, Te-Sat," European Police Agency, 2013.
28. Quoted in Vlado Azinovic, Kurt Bassuener, and Bodo
Weber, "Assessing the Potential for Renewed Ethnic Violence in
Bosnia and Herzegovina: A Security Risk Analysis," Berlin, Ger-
many: Atlantic Initiative and Democratization Policy Council,
October 2011, p. 69.
29. Azinovic, Bassuener, and Weber, "A Security Risk
Analysis," pp. 65-66.
30. Quoted in Vildana Skocajic and Anes Alic, "Understand-
ing Bosnia, Part Four," ISN Security Watch, March 12, 2009.
31. Anes Alic, "Wahhabism: from Vienna to Bosnia," ISN,
April 6, 2007.
32. Robert Coalson and Maja Nikolic, "Radical Islamists Seek
to Exploit Frustration in Bosnia," RFE/RL, March 1, 2013.
33. Walter Mayr, "Islamists Gain Ground in Sarajevo," Is-
lamist Watch, February 25, 2009.
34. Skocajic and Alic, "Understanding Bosnia, Part Four."
36. Sylvia Poggioli, "Radical Islam Uses Balkan Poor To Wield
Influence," NPR, October 25, 2010.
37. See Steven Oluic, "Radical Islam on Europe's Frontier —
Bosnia & Herzegovina," National Security and the Future, Vol. 1-2,
No. 9, 2008, p. 42; and Ioannis Michaletos, "An Outlook of Radical
Islamism in Bosnia." Pakistan Christian Post, July 2, 2012.
38. "Saudis Tied to Domineering Wahabi Presence in Bosnia,"
WorldTribune.com, March 27, 2007.
39. Nenad Pejic, "Wahhabist Militancy in Bosnia Profits from
Local and International Inaction," The Jamestown Foundation,
Terrorism Monitor, Vol. 9, Issue 42, November 17, 2011.
40. Schwartz, "Bosnia Re-arrests Top Wahhabi Plotter."
41. Juan Carlos Antunez Moreno, Foreign Influences in Islam in
Bosnia and Herzegovina since 1995, The Islam in South East Europe
Forum (ISEEF), Sarajevo, Bosnia, 2010.
42. "Vast Majority of Bosnian Federation TV Viewers See
Wahhabism as a Threat," BBC, December 10, 2006.
43. Quoted in Stephen Schwartz, "Bosnia Cracks Down on
Wahhabism," The Weekly Standard, February 18, 2010.
44. Quoted in Boris Kanzleiter, "Wahhabi Rules: Extremism
Comes to Bosnia," World Politics Review, May 2, 2007.
45. See official Izetbegovic biography, available from
46. Deliso, The Coming Balkan Caliphate, p. 7.
47. Soldo, "Muslim Politician Says Bosnian Al-Qa'idah Can
'Destabilize Europe'," Vecernij list, December 11, 2007, translated
by BBC Monitoring International Reports, December 14, 2007.
48. S. Dusanic, "Bakir Izetbegovic Gave Land to Saudi Com-
mittee as Present," Glas Srpske, May 29, 2008, translated by BBC
Montoring Europe, Political, May 29, 2008.
49. Walter Mayr, "The Prophet's Fifth Column: Islamists Gain
Ground in Sarajevo," Der Spiegel, February 25, 2009.
50. Berina Mulabegovic, "Who is Bakir Izetbegovic?" Globalia
Magazine, May 12, 2010.
51. "Bosna Bank International Holds Annual Board Meeting
in Dubai," available from www.ameinfo.com, December 19, 2012.
BBI shareholders include the Islamic Development Bank, the
Dubai Islamic Bank, and the Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank.
52. Timur Kuran, Islam and Mammon: The Economic Pre-
dicaments of Islamism, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press,
2004, p. 6.
53. The two signed several memoranda of understanding on
economic cooperation in 2010. The following year saw strength-
ened scientific and research ties between Iran and Bosnian uni-
versities, while in 2012, they pledged to expand economic ties.
See "Iran, Bosnia Sign MoUs on Economic Cooperation," Fars
News Agency, May 1, 2010; "Iran, Bosnia Universities to Strength-
en Scientific, Research Ties," IRNA, December 3, 2011; and "Iran,
Bosnia Urge Enhancement of Bilateral Relations," PressTV, April
10 , 2012 .
54. "Izetbegovic Meets Ahmadinejad in Cairo," BiH Dayton
Project, February 8, 2013, available from www.bihdaytonproject.
55. Mijatovic, "Tajna Diplomska Ofanziva Iranaca u BiH,"
Slobodna Bosna, October 25, 2012.
56. Radoncic was originally close to Alija Izetbegovic. He has
used nationalist rhetoric and donations to the Islamic Community
to advance his political career. See "Bosnia — Good Bosniaks, Bad
Bosniaks, Good Muslims, Bad Muslims," State Department cable
Sarajevo 103, January 27, 2009, provided courtesy of Wikileaks.
57. The report of Izetbegovic's involvement appeared in an
investigation by the Bosnian Serb newspaper, Glas Srbske, accord-
ing to Benjamin Weinthal, "Bosnia Tells Iranian Spies to Leave
to No Avail," The Jerusalem Post, May 9, 2013. Also see Benjamin
Weinthal, "Bosnia Expels Two Iranian Diplomats," The Jerusalem
Post, April 28, 2013; and Weinthal, "Bosnia Expels Alleged Iranian
Spies," The Jerusalem Post, May 19, 2013.
58. "Bosnia Expels Third Iranian Diplomat," Iran Daily Brief,
June 28, 2013, available from www.irandailybrief com/20 13/06/28/
59. Mijatovic, "Tajna Diplomska Ofanziva Iranaca u BiH."
60. Oluic, "Radical Islam on Europe's Frontier," p. 46.
61. Schindler, Unholy Terror, p. 200.
62. "Haris Silajdzic: The Unexposed Zealot," Toronto, On-
tario, Canada: The Centre for Peace in the Balkans, October 2002.
63. Oluic, "Radical Islam on Europe's Frontier," p. 47.
64. Soldo, "Muslim Politician Says Bosnian Al-Qa'idah Can
'Destabilize Europe'," Vecernij list, December 11, 2007, translated
by BBC Monitoring International Reports, December 14, 2007.
65. For example, Cornell University stated that "Silajdzic to-
day represents the forces for an integrated, secular and multina-
tional Bosnia. He continues to demand the right of return of refu-
gees and displaced persons and is a proponent of multiethnicity,
political pluralism and parliamentary democracy in the country."
66. "Obituary: Alija Izetbegovic," BBC News, October 19, 2003.
67. Alija Izetbegovic, The Islamic Declaration: A Programme
for the Islamization of Muslims and the Muslim People, Sarajevo,
68. "Verdict of the Federal Court," Kps — 108 / 84, available from
/islamska%20deklaracija/VERDICT _OF _THE_FEDERAL_
69. The Declaration was actually reissued not by Izetbegovic,
but by a Serbian company owned by notorious Bosnian Serb lead-
er, Vojislav Seselj. See Schindler, Unholy Terror, p. 63.
70. Schindler, Unholy Terror, p. 200.
71. See "Karadzic Talks Izetbegovic in Cross-Examination,"
Balkaninsight.com, April 26, 2010; and Rachel Erwin, "Bosnian
Serb Leader Says Karadzic Was Peacemaker," Washington, DC:
Institute for War and Peace Reporting, April 12, 2013.
72. See Schindler, Unholy Terror, pp. 32-45. The actual indict-
ment does not name Iran. See "Verdict of the Federal Court."
73. Schindler, Unholy Terror, p. 54. See also "Bosnian Threat-
ens Poison Gas Against Serb Forces," The New York Times, October
74. Ibid. p. 52.
75. See the obituary by Enes Karic, "Alija Izetbegovic, Presi-
dent of Bosnia," Sarajevo, Bosnia, available from www.muslim-law-
yers.net/news/index.php3 ?aktion=show&number=243 .
76. "Alija Izetbegovic: His Background and Philosophies,"
London, UK: Balkan Research Centre, December 1992.
77. J. Millard Burr and Robert O. Collins, Alms for Jihad:
Charity and Terrorism in the Islamic World, Cambridge, MA: Cam-
bridge University Press, 2006, pp. 140-143.
78. Schindler, Unholy Terror, p. 52.
79. In this first trial, Izetbegovic was convicted of terrorist ac-
tivities related to the Young Muslims.
80. Schindler, Unholy Terror, pp. 107-108.
81. "Bosnia Fire Official with Ties to Iran," Los Angeles Times,
November 20, 1996.
82. Nidzara Ahmetasevic, Adnan Butorovic, and Mirsad
Fazlic, "Fishers of Children's Souls: Third Offensive of Young
Muslims," Slobodna Bosna, January 30, 2003, English translation,
May 10, 2004.
83. See testimony by Eve- Ann Prentice at the Milosevic trial at
the ICTY, available from www.youtube.com/watch ?v=IUDznadBOZU.
84. Schindler, Unholy Terror, p. 254.
85. Ibid., pp. 263-266. See also Azinovic, Bassuener, and We-
ber, "A Security Risk Analysis," p. 65; and Ivo Lucic, "Bosnia and
Herzegovina and Terrorism," National Security and the Future, Vol.
2, No. 3-4, Autumn/ Winter 2001.
86. Azinovic, Bassuener, and Weber, "A Security Risk Analy-
sis," p. 65.
87. Quoted in Schindler, Unholy Terror, p. 263, sourced to an
article in Slobodna Bosna, September 13, 2001. "Salam" is a greet-
ing, while "tekbir" means the phrase "Allahu akbar."
88. Mike O'Connor, "Spies for Iranians Are Said to Gain a
Hold in Bosnia," The New York Times, November 28, 1997.
89. He reportedly said that the Bosniak secret police "had
been infected by al-Qa-ida . . . there was virtually a cell of that
organization there." See quote in Schindler, Unholy Terror, p. 240.
90. Ena Latin, "Sarajevo Trial May Lift Lid on Assassina-
tions," Washington, DC: Institute for War and Peace Reporting,
May 22, 2002; and "Ex-Bosnian Officials Arrested for Terrorism
and Espionage Walk Free," AFP, October 1, 2002.
91. See OHR decision, available from www.ohr.int/decisions/
removalssdec/dej ault. asp? content _id=28446. Ashdown fired him for
failure to handle intelligence information properly.
92. Nenad Pejic, "Wahhabist Militancy in Bosnia Profits from
Local and International Inaction," The Jamestown Foundation
Terrorism Monitor, Vol. 9, Issue 42, November 17, 2011.
93. Quoted in Stefano Giantin, "A Bosnian Plea: 'Italians,
Don't Give Peace Prize to Ceric," eurasiareview.com, February
94. "Grand Mufti Ceric Awarded Italian Foundation Peace
Prize," The Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Report, March 26, 2012.
95. See text of "A Declaration of European Muslims," avail-
able from www.rferl.org/content/article/1066751.html.
96. "Bosnian Grand Mufti Says Islamic Law Compatible With Con-
stitution, Will Visit Iran," Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Report,
June 8, 2009.
97. Kenneth Morrison, "Wahhabism in the Balkans," Balkan
Series 08/06, Swindon, Wiltshire, UK: Defence Academy of the
United Kingdom, Advanced Research and Assessment Group,
February 2008, p. 9.
98. Patrick Moore, "Leader of Bosnia's Islamic Community
Speaks Out," RFE/RL, April 23, 2004.
99. "Bosnia — Rising toward Trouble," Embassy Sarajevo,
Bosnia, February 16, 2009, provided courtesy of Wikileaks.
100. See, for example, "The Second Report on Islamophobia,
January — December 2011," Islamic Community of Bosnia and
Herzegovina, Sarajevo, March 2012.
101. "Bosnians Elect New Grand Mufti; Mustafa Ceric Re-
placed After 19 Years," The Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Report,
September 25, 2012.
102. "Bosnia's Dangerous Tango: Islam and Nationalism,"
Brussels, Belgium: International Crisis Group, February 26,
2013, p. 1.
103. Quoted in Soldo, "Muslim Politician."
104. Ahmad ibn Naqib al-Misri, Reliance of the Traveller: A
Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law, Beltsville, MD: Amana pub-
lications, 1994, 0.25.3, p. 640. Exceptions to this rule occurred in
Islamic empires, but the individuals who occupied such positions
were always vulnerable to attack.
105. Ibid., pp. 607-609.
106. Aleksa Djilas, "The Nation that Wasn't," Nader Mousav-
izadeh, ed., The Black Book of Bosnia, New York: HarperCollins
Publishers 1996, p. 25.
107. Alija Izetbegovic, The Islamic Declaration: A Programme
for the Islamization of Muslims and the Muslim Peoples, Sarajevo,
108. Available from EUFOR website, www.euforbih.org/. In
fact, Turkey has offered to make up shortfalls in EUFOR staffing
but had been rebuffed by the EU, apparently for fear that EUFOR
would effectively become a "TurkFor." See Azinovic, Bassuener,
and Weber, "A Security Risk Analysis," p. 72.
109. Anes Alic, "Turkey's Growing Influence in the Balkans,"
oilprice.com, June 9, 2010.
110. Dusan Stojanovic, "Turkey Uses Economic Clout to Gain
Balkan Foothold," The Seattle Times, March 13, 2011.
111. This nostalgia, shared by the Muslim Brotherhood, found
its way into Izetbegovic's Declaration, in which he mourned the
replacement of the Ottoman Empire by a secular Turkish regime
whose new generation "had lost the remembrance of its past." See
Izetbegovic, Islamic Declaration, p. 14.
112. Esad Hecimovic, "Sta Turska hoce na Balkanu?" Dani,
October 23, 2009. See English translation of excerpts at grayfalcon.
113. John Eibner, "Turkey's Christians Under Siege," Middle
East Quarterly, Vol. 18, No. 2, Spring 2011.
114. "What Lies Beneath Ankara's New Foreign Policy," State
Department cable Ankara 87, November 29, 2010, provided cour-
tesy of Wikileaks.
115. Patrick Goodenough, "OIC Fulfills Function of Caliph-
ate, Embodies 'Islamic Solidarity/ Says OIC Chief," CNS News,
May 10, 2010.
116. Kenan Efendic, "OIC Invites Bosnia to Become Full Mem-
ber," Balkan Insight, April 16, 2013.
117. Available from www.oicun.org/articles/54/l/Cairo-
118. "Turkey Trying to Keep Its Influence in Bosnia," State
Department cable Ankara 1651, November 17, 2009, provided
courtesy of Wikileaks.
119. Azinovic, Bassuener, and Weber, "A Security Risk
Analysis," pp. 31-34.
120. Ibid., p. 33.
121. Ibid., p. 34., italics in original.
122. See OSA website, available from www.osa-oba.gov.ba/
123. Azinovic, Bassuener, and Weber, "A Security Risk Anal-
ysis," p. 44.
124. Ibid., pp. 39-52.
125. Mark Lowen, "Major Criminal Flees Bosnia Jail," BBC,
July 29, 2009. Abu Hamza, a former member of Egyptian Gama'a
al-Islamiyya, first arrived in Bosnia in 1992. See Anes Alic, "The
Ringleaders of the Bosnia-Herzegovina Wahhabi Movement,"
The Jamestown Foundation Terrorism Focus, Vol. 4, Issue 6, March
126. Azinovic, Basseuner, and Weber, "A Security Risk
Analysis," pp. 4-8.
127. Ratka Babic, "Bosnia Serbs Will Call Referendum on
NATO," Balkan Insight, February 12, 2013.
128. Stefan J. Bos, "Report: 'Christians Flee Bosnia Amid Dis-
crimination, Islamization," BosNewsLife, October 12, 2012.
129. "Bosnia and Herzegovina 2012 Progress Report," p. 17.
130. Janusz Bugajski, Return of the Balkans: Challenges to Eu-
ropean Integration and U.S. Disengagement, Carlisle, PA: Strategic
Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College, May 2013, pp. 156-158.
131. EUFOR Fact Sheet, available from www.euforbih.org/index .
php?option=com_content&view=article&id= 1 5 &Itemid= 1 34 .
132. Azinovic, Bassuener, and Weber, "A Security Risk
Analysis," p. 72.
133. See European Union External Action website, available
134. Azinovic, Bassuener, and Weber, "A Security Risk
Analysis," p. 72.
136. The top three missions are: assisting Bosnian authori-
ties with reforms and commitments related to the Partnership for
Peace and closer integration with NATO; providing logistic and
other support to EUFOR; and supporting ICTY on a case-by-case
basis. See "NATO's Relations with Bosnia and Herzegovina,"
available from www.nato.int.
137. Charles G. Boyd, "Making Peace with the Guilty: The
Truth about Bosnia," Foreign Affairs, Vol. 74, No. 50, September/
October 1995, pp. 22-38.
138. Edward P. Joseph, "Bosnia-Herzegovina," The Western
Balkans Policy Review 2010, Washington, DC: Center for Strategic
and International Studies, pp. 63-64.
139. Oluic, "Radical Islam on Europe's Frontier," p. 48.
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